The festival attracted more than 7,700 visitors

3 July 2017

This year’s Impulse Theater Festival came to an end with a long party following the midnight concert by PeterLicht early on Sunday morning, 2nd July 2017. Over the course of ten days an audience of 7,700 people attended almost 100 performances, concerts and parties as well as debates, working meetings and the closing conference. Once again over 90% of the available tickets were sold – the concept introduced in 2015 of a festival whose center would rotate each year between the cities of Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mülheim an der Ruhr has been vindicated.

This fourth and final edition of the festival under the artistic direction of Florian Malzacher again considered what political art might look like today and how it can operate, the relationship between theater and society and the extent to which not only art works but also methods of working and forms of organization can be political experiments. Under the title ‘Decide or Else’ the issue of decision-making in society, politics and art provided the festival’s core theme.

his year’s festival center and one of the principal venues with Dries Verhoeven’s “‘Guilty Landscapes’, ‘Du gingst fort’ (‘You Went Away’) by the Rabtaldirndln, ‘Who cares?!’ by Swoosh Lieu and three monologues by She She Pop, internil and Gintersdorfer/Klaßen was studiobühneköln. Schauspiel Köln’s Depot also presented Boris Nikitin’s ‘Hamlet’, ‘Sorry’ by Monster Truck and ‘Five Easy Pieces’ by Milo Rau and CAMPO. In addition the TanzFaktur was host to ‘Die Erfindung der Gertraud Stock’ (‘The Invention of Gertraud Stock’) by the collective vorschlag:hammer and the Künstler Theater Cologne presented the children’s theatre production ‘DA GEFAHR!’ (‘DANGER!’) by the FUNDUS THEATER.
In his first solo work ‘Sideshow’, Richard Lowdon – founder member, designer and performer with the legendary Sheffield-based company Forced Entertainment – transformed studiobühnköln’s rehearsal space into a magical center where a congenial atmosphere perfectly matched a packed festival program. ‘Sideshow’ was like a pub that had been lost in time: a theatrical installation of togetherness in which audiences and artists could come together every night for the duration of the festival to talk, listen, dance and drink –and for lively performances, concerts and discussions.

The German-speaking productions invited to the festival were framed by three international commissions: the world premiere of the film ‘Germany Year 2071’ caused considerable excitement among the large audience in WDR’s great broadcasting hall with its retro-futuristic vision of a world to come imagined and staged by Nature Theater of Oklahoma from New York together with citizens of Cologne and Berlin and filmed at Impulse and the Foreign Affairs Festival in 2016.
A poetic and yet statistically clear perspective on the present was provided by the British theater company Stan‘s Cafe on the main stage at Ringlokschuppen Ruhr. Using only grains of rice they were able to construct a permanently evolving landscape that provided information about political and social circumstances as well as individual lives. Their spatial theatrical installation ‘Of All The People In All The World’ thrilled over 1,500 visitors. The themes of the project were closely linked with the autonomous knowledge platform Silent University Ruhr that was initiated two years ago and was continued this year with both lectures and animated discussions.
In her durational performative action ‘Delicate Instruments of Engagement’ in spaces belonging to both the Kunsthalle and Kunstverein in Düsseldorf, the Romanian choreographer Alexandra Pirici examined the iconic breaking down of boundaries between art, pop culture and politics some thirty years after Joseph Beuys’ death. In a work specially created for Impulse Pirici conveyed both iconic and less well-known images and events in an amalgam of pop cultural and political gestures. While performance art conventionally declares the body to be a work of art, she turned works of art into bodies and images into reality.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the festival’s success in recent years, especially the artists, of course, and our audiences – and we look forward to embracing new
challenges under the artistic directorship of Haiko Pfost, who will take charge of Impulse for three editions from 2018 – 2020. His first edition of the festival will take place in June 2018 with Mülheim an der Ruhr as its principal venue and additional events in Düsseldorf and Cologne.